Aviation Investigation Report A98H0003

1.18.3  Availability of Published Approach Charts

Published approach charts provide the flight crew with information, such as runway orientation, length and lighting, minimum safety altitudes and descent altitudes, names, identification letters and frequencies of navigation aids, radio frequencies, and headings to be flown. This information is used when entering the airspace surrounding an airport when conducting an instrument approach.

As with many operators, the Swissair procedure for the MD-11 was to carry a set of airport approach charts in a crew bag that was stored in the ship's library at the rear of the cockpit. It was not possible for either pilot to reach the bag while seated; therefore, a pilot would either have to leave the seat or request a cabin crew member to come forward to relocate the bag. In a normal situation, little risk is associated with these options; however, in an abnormal or emergency situation, this extra task constitutes a distraction that can cost valuable time.

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